Myths and Stereotypes about Bisexuals

Bisexual love and relationships

Bisexuals – we’re greedy, confused, in transition, attention whores and sluts.

We’ve all heard these stereotypes being carelessly thrown around within the media or society. And if you identify as bisexual, like I do, chances are you’ve encountered many of these myths in your daily lives, as well.

In a world where everything is often seen as black and white, this or that, bisexual individuals are misunderstood and misrepresented. We are the grey area that neither gay nor straight communities understand. Unfortunately, this means that we face a double edged sword of discrimination leading to many of these myths and stereotypes.

Today I’ll reveal the truth behind some of the most prevalent myths of bisexuality that I have encountered. I hope that this truth will help in the realization that no sexual orientation should be discriminated against. Love is love.

“It’s just a phase.”

Yes, it’s true that sometimes people experience bisexuality as a form of discovering their own sexuality rather than being truly bi. But, the overall assumption that ALL bisexuals are merely in an experimental phase is a harmful one. For people who truly identify as bisexual, it is not a phase, but their lives and identity. So be careful not to dismiss someone’s life as being merely a phase.

“Bisexuals are in transition to gay/lesbian lifestyles.”

This is really just an extension of the “it’s just a phase” frame of thought. The only difference is that this phase is thought to be a stop on the way to homosexuality. Yes, some men and women identify as bisexual before coming out as gay or lesbian, just like some people identify as straight before coming out as gay or lesbian. Even the reverse is true. Some people identify as gay/lesbian before coming out as straight. But there are those of us who continue to identify as bi. For us, it’s very insulting for people to assume that our identity is merely a stopover on the way to something else. We are attracted to both genders. And that’s all there is to it.

“Bisexuals are indecisive or confused.”

Bisexual love and relationships, I'm bisexual you're confusedThere’s this overwhelming idea that we, as bisexuals, can’t make up our minds. We are confused and indecisive. What saddens me is that you hear this argument from both the gay and straight camps. If being gay, lesbian or straight is not a choice, then why do people assume it is a choice for us? The same rules apply here, people. We do not play by different rules merely because we do not fall clearly on one side or the other. Therefore, bisexuality is not a choice. We have no control over attraction. We love who we love.

“Bisexuals are greedy.”

This is something that I also keep hearing over and over again from the gay and straight communities. We are being greedy by not narrowing our playing field to one gender. This is ridiculous. Yes, there may be more people that we are attracted to, but that’s also more people to reject us. Bisexuals are not walking around with a string of men on one arm and a string of women on the other. This is not what it means to be bisexual. We can be attracted to more than one gender, just like we can all be attracted to more than one race, hair color, etc.

“Bisexuals are promiscuous.”

Apparently, there’s this big assumption that because we are attracted to both men and women, making our sea of potential suitors larger, than we must be big sluts. I mean double the numbers, double the fun, right? Wrong. Just because we like more than one gender doesn’t mean we want to test drive every make or model on the lot. Some bisexuals do enjoy a little more sexual promiscuity than others, but so do some straight and gay/lesbian individuals. This has nothing to do with sexual orientation and everything to do with personal preference and lifestyle choices.

“Bisexuals love threesomes.”

I cannot tell you the number of offers or invitations I have had to join a couple in their bedroom, often by males who discovered I was bisexual.

1) I’m sure your girlfriends would love to find out that you propositioned me!

2) Being bisexual does not mean I am attracted to you or your girlfriend/boyfriend!

3) Being attracted to both genders does not mean bisexuals want to have sex with both simultaneously.

Yes, there are many bisexuals who enjoy threesomes. However, bisexuality does not mean that we have an automatic predisposition to jump into bed with you and your girlfriends or vice versa. Again, sexual orientation does not dictate what we enjoy doing in the bedroom, just who.

“Bisexuals cannot be in a monogamous relationship.”

This myth stems from the idea that bisexuals need to have both a man and woman to be content. One is not enough. These are such prevalent notions within our society that when I first revealed my sexual orientation to my mom she asked, “Is your boyfriend okay with you having a girlfriend?” The poor woman had been led to believe that being bisexual meant being polyamorous. Let me set the record straight. I was in a loving relationship with a man then and I still am. I have not cheated. I do not have a girlfriend in addition to my boyfriend. And I have not left him for a woman. I am in a faithful monogamous relationship. Yes, it is possible. A person’s sexual orientation has no bearing on what kind of relationship they have.

“Bisexual is basically a synonym for cheating.”

Recently, I was  disheartened when I saw numerous disparaging posts about this issue on the Lezbehonest Facebook page. While some defended bisexuality, most accused bisexuals of being cheaters. There seems to be this fear that bisexual men and women will leave the man/woman they are dating for someone of the opposite gender than their partner. If a bisexual person cheats, it is a reflection of their character not their sexual orientation. Cheaters come in all shapes, sizes, races, genders, and sexual orientations.

“One cannot identify as bisexual unless they have had a relationship with a man and a woman.”

I was once asked about my sexual history involving women by a male friend of mine. I sort of skirted around the question because I figured what had or had not happened in my bedroom was none of his concern, which led to this statement, “If you have not had sex with a woman, you are not bisexual. Maybe bicurious.” I was both shocked and appalled. How can you define someone’s sexual orientation by what they have or have not done? That’s like saying everyone who is a virgin has no sexual orientation. They are merely gay-curious, straight-curious, or bicurious. A person has the capability to identify who they are attracted to before they ever sleep with them or even kiss them. For instance, how many of you were attracted to your significant other before you ever hit the sheets?

“Bisexual women are just attention whores.”

A few years ago and several times since, I overheard someone say that “bisexual women don’t exist.” “They’re all just drunk girls looking for attention.” You know those women who make out at the bar or frat party in an attempt to titillate all the men folk. Yea, chances are they don’t identify as bisexual. And if they do, they surely aren’t representative of the group as a whole. In fact, many of us don’t like it when men gawk at us when we’re on a date with a woman. So perhaps you shouldn’t judge an entire group by the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ groupies partying it up at the bar.

“Bisexuals are not as oppressed as lesbian, gay or transgendered individuals because they are ‘half-straight.”

We are not “half-straight.” We are bisexual – attracted to both genders (sometimes equally, sometimes not). We struggle to be recognized, while also facing discrimination from both the gay and straight communities. We don’t fit into either and neither truly accepts us. Isn’t it time that the gay community, who is struggling for acceptance, offered up some of that acceptance to us? I know many do, but I’m talking to the rest of you who help perpetuate these stereotypes. Gay. Lesbian. Straight. Bisexual. Love is love.

We’re here. We’re queer.

Bisexuals exist. We are not a myth, fairytale, or drug induced trip. We are merely people who are attracted to two genders. It does not define our character, actions, or who we are in a relationship. It merely defines the genders we find attractive. Always remember – love is love.

I AM Visible Bisexual Campaign

These are just a few of the misconceptions I have encountered. Which ones have you or your friends come across? Do you have any of your own ideas to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

  • Heh, I have a close friend who’s bisexual and she is totally into threesomes. She’s also quite promiscuous and has cheated on her boyfriend. (Although not with a girl, so… maybe that supports your claim.) Bisexuals aren’t anything and they’re not not anything. Anyone who tries to put them in a box is pretty stupid.

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      It sounds like you have quite an interesting friend. I have a friend like that too. 🙂 And that’s exactly my point, no group fits into this one stereotyped box. Thanks for reading my post and I appreciate your comment! – Lynsey

  • Thank you for this post. x

  • Anyone wanna buy the male Beetlejuice costume and we can be male and female beetlejuice and it’ll look amazing 🙁

    • I think this comment was posted on the wrong blog post, but a male and female Beetlejuice would be fantastic! 🙂 I hope you find your man!

  • My girlfriend is bisexual so I kinda know firsthand about these misconceptions/discrimination towards them. I get people telling me all the time “Oh she’s bisexual? She’ll leave you once the right penis comes around.” among other very false claims. Bisexual erasure and discrimination is NOT cool.

    • Sara, I’m sorry that you have to endure such comments from people about your relationship and gf. It’s not cool that they judge her for her sexual preference and attempt to invalidate your relationship with such comments. I hope that one day people will realize how stupid all this discrimination is. Thanks for reading this post and sharing your experience! 🙂

  • Sky

    Yes. Yes. Yes. EVERYTHING you just said – yes. What is most upsetting to me is that it’s not just the straight community that comes up with these ridiculous ideas but rather the gay community too. I’ve had so many gay friends roll their eyes and go “Oh, you’re just confused” or “You’re just sad you can’t get a boyfriend.” You’d think if anyone would be understanding, it would be them but nope.

    • I agree. It’s very frustrating that many (not all) people in the gay community either dismiss or discriminate against bisexuals. I feel like they should offer up some of the acceptance that they are striving to gain, as well. Love is love. And thanks for reading! 😀

  • Luna

    Whenever I come out as bisexual to any of my girl friends, they automatically assume I like them or someone else they know, and even when I say that I don’t, they just rattle off a list of girls that they think I like. And they keep saying, “you can tell us, we’re your friends!” But no, I don’t like everyone I see.

    • Wow! That’s one experience I haven’t had yet. People need to realize that it is possible to be friends with someone without thinking of them in that way. I mean, straight people aren’t attracted to EVERYONE of the opposite sex. And bisexuals aren’t attracted to EVERYONE in general, either. 🙂

  • Wow. I can understand how that would be frustrating. I think people have a hard time accepting that two people are capable of being friends without any ulterior motives going on. We can have close friendships, despite being in a relationship, without wanting to date that friend. And our sexuality has nothing to do with our promiscuity. No matter what. You and your friend are lucky to have each other and understand each other. 🙂

  • Pingback: The Invisible Queer – Reflecting Diversity Within Feminist Thought and Social Justice Issues()

  • Girl, you are freakin’ awesome. What a great post! I’m so glad you’re out there busting myths like a badass. You are who you are and it’s sad that people who identify differently from you try and categorize you negatively. Keep speaking up and standing strong, sweets! xo